The Silver Tray Prank

Category: Slice of Life

TAnonymous Filigree trayhe four of us sat at the top of the hill, screeneded by the featheryfeathery branchesbranches of the old macrocarpamacrocarpa trees growinggrowing alongalong the drunkendrunken fence line. The shineshining metalmetal tray, with its edge like the finestfinest piece of silversilver lace, was lielying in the middlemiddle of the road. Tom had takenaken it from his parents’ house earlyearlier that day, where it had been on displaydisplay in the glass cupboardscupboards of the sideboard.sideboard. He hopedhoped his mother had nothadn’t   noticednoticed yet that it was missing.missing. It was one of her most prizedprized possessions.

If you lookedlooked closelyclosely you could just make out the piece of fishingfishing line tiedtied to the tray, runningrunning all the way up the steep hillside.hillside. It twistedtwisted aroundaround the stuntedstunted ferns and bushesbushes strugglestruggling to survivesurvive in the copper-colouredcopper-coloured clay. The other end of the nylonnylon line was tiedtied around Tom’sTom’s wrist. The trick was set. Now we just had to wait.

After a few minutes of giggles and hissedhissed shushing,shushing, Mr Pritchard’sPritchard’s little car made its way up the road. We all held our breath. Would he notice and stop? Sure enough, he slammedslammed on his brakes, openedopened the driver’sdriver’s door and climbedclimbed out. He walkedwalked bow-leggedlegged around the front of the car, makemaking his way to the silversilver tray, which was lying in the middlemiddle of the road. As he bent to pick it up, Tom startedstarted windingwinding the line around and around his wrist, causecausing the tray to slide away up the hillside.

The old man lookedlooked up to where we were hastyhastily makemaking our exit,exit, shrieking with laughter,ter, and shook his fist at us. ShakeShaking his head, he climbedclimbed back intointo his car and drove off.


Clarify these words: screened, feathery, macrocarpa, drunken, fence line, silver, lace, display, sideboard, prized possessions, steep, stunted, struggling, cooper-coloured, clay, nylon, hissed shushing, bow-legged, winding, hastily, exit.

Retell what has happened in this Slice of Life.

What prediction can you made about what might have happened next?

Make inferences or give opinions about:

  • Why they were screened by the branches.
  • What the fence line was like.
  • Why Tom's mother might get angry with them.
  • Why you have to look carefully to see the line.
  • Whether clay is good for growing plants in.
  • Why there would be giggling and hissed shushing.
  • Why Mr Pritchard might slam on his brakes.
  • Why he might walk bow-legged.
  • How he would have felt as the tray slid away from him. 
  • Why the children were shrieking with laughter.
  • Why they would run away.
  • Why Mr Pritchard shook his fist and his head.


What question could you ask about this Slice of Life?

Visualise these uses of descriptive language: screened by the feathery branches of the macrocarpa trees; the drunken fence line; shining metal tray, edge like finest silver lace; on display in the glass cupboards; most prized possessions; steep hillside; stunted ferns and bushes struggling to survive; copper-coloured clay; giggles and hissed shushing; all held our breath; slammed on his brakes; walked bow-legged; the tray sliding away up the hillside; hastily making our exit; shrieking with laughter; shook his fist.

Make a connection with this narrative so far.

Word Study

Verb endings: What happens when we add sed or ing to: shinelie, hope, notice, tie, run, struggle, slam, cause, shake.

Other affixes: What happens when we add other prefixes and suffixes like ys, est, en, er, ly to these words: feather, branch, bush, fine, take, early, close, hasty. 

What two words make up these compound wordsalong, cupboards, sideboard, hillside, around.

What two words make up these contractions: hadn't.

 What do the apostrophes mean hereparents', Tom's, Mr Pritchard's, driver's.